AW: [sw-l] Writing mouthing of words with SSW

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Fri Feb 24 21:07:51 UTC 2006

Hello Erica,Cherie, Valerie and friends, - 

it is interesting how things need some time to be of more interest - smile -

Well I put a lot of energy in Mundbilder as we call these articulation
without voice that goes along with the SL - performance. So the mouth
provides a lot of information that has to be written in DGS (German SL) -
otherwise my students would not have any chance to translate the SW document
written in signed German or in a true DEAF DGS into German. 

Or you can say - otherwise the transcription of the SL-performance would
lack an important aspect of information.

But this is my main interest - I want to transcribe SL as accurat as
possible - I want to offer bilingual materials that you may compare with
what you know from other language courses ... 

I invented a new notation symbol set that is  called "Mundbildschrift" 

Valerie - I think it is very important to understand the difference between
"Mundbildschrift" and  Mundbilder in SignWriting /GebaerdenSchrift)

"Mundbildschrift" is only for the purpose to support deaf students (of any
age) to develop a feeling / memory/ idea - whatever - of the
"soundproduction" that goes on if you voice out loud any given word in
German (or English - or ..... ) as the hearing do. So it is a tool to
improve articulation and vocabulary learning. 

I can understand and it is no problem to me if this focus is sometimes
misunderstood neglected or even hated by some Deaf people or SL- teachers or
linguists .or ... 

Mundbilder in SignWriting are different story!  And it is important to
understand the difference between the two systems.  

Mundbilder are symbols within the IMWA that are invented by Valerie Sutton 
except for my "mouth for ie" wich is a combination of two different symbols
- smile - 

Mundbilder  try to describe or indicate   mouth m o v e m e n t s   as they
can be seen by the deaf dialog partner - 

Since many sounds of speach cannot be distinguished just by lip reading it
is no surprise that same happens with the Mundbilder. 

And in fact it is kind of guessing game to identify a specific Mundbild if
there are some other options ....  

So in this case I don't distinguish between "B" and "P"  or "D" and "T" or

On the other hand there is no doubt about "M" or "L" the way I use these

But it would be much better to show the difference in graphics. 

So I will prepare more emails to show the difference. 

Love to read more messages about this problem. I understand that some or the
majority of ASL - signers do not use these lip-movement information ... 

But there are several other SL in the world where this is an important part
of the performance.

Stefan ;-) 

-----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Valerie Sutton
Gesendet: Freitag, 24. Februar 2006 00:30
An: sw-l at
Betreff: [sw-l] Writing mouthing of words with SSW

SignWriting List
February 23, 2006

Erika at the University of Michigan wrote:
> Hi - In the video I'm transcribing of Nepali Sign Language, words  
> are occasionally mouthed along with the signs. I see that there are  
> a variety of mouthshapes available in the Sign Text Editor - do I  
> choose the mouth shape that most closely approximates the shape the  
> signer's mouth takes as they mouth the word? Or is there a symbol  
> to indicate more generally that the sign is accompanied by a  
> mouthed word?
> Thanks! Erika


Cherie at the Georgia School for the Deaf wrote:
> I asked something about this earlier, and missed the answer...   
> Sometimes the mouth is actually -moving- as part of the sign...   
> like a jaw drop, or mouthing something that looks like POW, or VA  
> or CHIVA...  how are these motions shown?

Hello Erika, Cherie, Stefan and everyone who writes mouth movements -  
ha! ;-))

Which is ALL of us sooner or later - ha!

There has been extensive work on writing mouth movements in different  
signed languages in SignWriting, from several perspectives, so to  
answer your question could take many messages, or if you have a  
specific mouth movement you want to write, we can discuss that too...

But right now, the answer is YES...we write the way the mouth looks  
and feels, as much as is possible, when mouthing is important for the  
understanding of a sign...

This means that some people write a lot of mouth movements and others  
do not, depending on how important they feel it is...

The best known work on writing mouth movements is Stefan Woehrmann's  
work on writing the mouth movements of German speech and German Sign  
Language. When writing the movements of German speech, Stefan has had  
great success with teaching Deaf children to mouth words very well,  
to the point that reading the written mouth movements has actually  
helped some Deaf children learn to speak German better... Stefan  
calls this Mundbildschrift, which in English means mouth-picture- 
writing...but they are SignWriting symbols applied to German speech  
in a systematic way that Stefan is quite successful  
and there are now some people adapting Mundbildschrift to write the  
speech movements of other spoken languages too...

And then there is the other world of naturally-evolved signed  
languages, and the mouth movements necessary for grammar of signed  
languages, and those mouth-movements are also written quite a  
lot...Yes, we write Pah and those other common mouth movements from  
ASL or other signed languages.

So first, here is a picture of Stefan writing Mundbildschrift on the  
blackboard in his classroom, and if you click on this link below, you  
can see the symbols in a PDF not do not  
have to know German to see the symbols in the back of this  
document...just flip a few pages to see them...without any German... 
(I will continue next message, in about two hours)

I hope others will answer about writing mouth movements too!!

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